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No. 2 Syracuse women's lacrosse holds off No. 7 James Madison 13-7 in NCAA Quarterfinals

SU's Olivia Adamson (1) receives a pass in a 13-7 win over James Madison in the NCAA Quarterfinals.
SU's Olivia Adamson (1) receives a pass in a 13-7 win over James Madison in the NCAA Quarterfinals.

Emma Ward dished a precise behind-the-back pass to cutting teammate Megan Carney. Carney received the feed in front of the cage while still on the run. In stride, the attacker fired a behind-the-back shot past the outstretched stick of James Madison goalkeeper Kat Buchanan, providing the exclamation point for Syracuse.

No. 2 SU women's lacrosse (18-2, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) dominated on both sides in the second half in its 13-7 win over No. 7 JMU (19-3, 6-0 American Athletic Conference). Outscoring the Dukes 8-4 in the game's final 30 minutes, the Orange also forced 11 turnovers to prevent any chance of a comeback. Syracuse advanced to its ninth NCAA Tournament Semifinals and its first since 2021.

But it didn't start easy for the Orange, who missed their first six shots. On its first free position attempt, Buchanan speared Megan Carney's shot. Less than a minute later and two minutes into the game, Taylor Marchetti tallied the first goal for the Dukes, giving the visitors an early lead.

Syracuse had a chance to respond soon when JMU's Nicholle Marshall earned a yellow card. However, the Orange couldn't capitalize on the player-up attempt. Olivia Adamson fired a promising shot, but the Dukes' goalie dropped to her knees to prevent the equalizer.

With nine minutes remaining in the first, Adamson received a yellow card. Isabella Peterson charged towards the cage and scored, but Katie Goodale stepped in and took a charge, taking the goal away. On its fourth free position attempt of the first, Natalie Smith launched a pass too high for Carney, committing SU's second turnover.

Adamson finally got the Orange on the board with a shot that clanged off the top left post and in, tying the game at one 13 minutes in. The sophomore struck again just over a minute later. Smith dodged towards the cage and found the attacker darting from X, who finished top shelf.

Superia Clark scooped up the opening draw in the second quarter, the fifth straight win for SU. Sierra Cockerille's side-winding shot flew into the back of the net with eight minutes left in the second, extending the home team's lead to 3-1.

Tewaaraton finalist Isabella Peterson responded with a free position goal for James Madison, a bullet to the top right that beat SU goalkeeper Delaney Sweitzer. Fifty-five seconds later, Katelyn Morgan wrapped around the left of the cage and beat Sweitzer to the right side to tie the contest at three.

But Syracuse got the last laugh in the first half. After forcing a shot clock violation following a JMU timeout, the Orange offense rattled off two goals in the second quarter's final 24 seconds. Meaghan Tyrrell found Adamson in front of the net, who finished high for a score. Seconds later, after winning the draw, Cockerille dodged to the right and fired a laser past Buchanan, giving SU a two-goal advantage at halftime.

The Dukes won the opening draw in the third quarter, but the Orange quickly forced a turnover as Clark collected another ground ball. Maddy Baxter split a double team in transition and unleashed a shot high to low past Buchanan, extending the lead.

Soon after, Adamson gathered another grounder dropped by JMU. She found Ward, who fired across her body and into the back of the net to put SU ahead 7-3.

Both teams traded punches to end the third. Peterson got the Dukes back within three, but Carney answered a minute later. With time winding down, Tai Jankowski bounced a low shot past Sweitzer. Morgan almost got James Madison within two, but SU's goalie raised her stick and caught a shot as the third-quarter buzzer sounded.

The Orange began to pull away in the fourth, showcasing their ball movement. On its first possession, five players touched the ball in a matter of seconds, ending with an Emma Tyrrell score. Later, Carney rifled a shot on the run that Buchanan couldn't catch up to for another goal.

The Dukes looked to erase SU's five-goal lead with possession midway through the fourth. After two missed shots, the Orange defense forced another turnover, their 16th of the afternoon. JMU averaged just over 12 miscues per contest but tied a season-high with 18 in Thursday's loss.

Ward and Carney provided the exclamation point with two minutes left. The junior tossed a behind-the-back pass to the graduate student, whose behind-the-back shot went straight into the net.

Next up for Syracuse is a rematch with Boston College next Friday in the National Semifinals from Cary, North Carolina. The Eagles upset the Orange in their only matchup this season, erasing a four-goal, fourth-quarter deficit to hand SU its first loss.